New Telegraph

Anambra guber: Soludo’s error may cost him poll victory –Lawyer

There are indications that the election of former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Prof. Chukwuma Charles Soludo, as the next governor of Anambra State may be nullified if the case is pursued at the Election Tribunal and up to the Supreme Court. In a legal opinion made availabletonewsmenbyahuman rights lawyer, Dr. Jezie Ekejiuba, he argued that the possibility exists because of a serious error which Soludo allegedly made while filling out his Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) forms prior to the election. In filling his forms, Soludo, candidate of the ruling party in the state, the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), had indicated that he was running for the office of Governor of Aguata II-Anambra instead of Governor of Anambra State.

Ekejiuba, who is President of Anambra State Association of Registered Voters (ASARVOTE), said, “In my legal opinion this Prof. Soludo’s election form scandal is not a technical issue of law but substantial issue of law jurisprudentially speaking on this point alone: The office of Governor of Aguata II-Anambra does not exist under the Nigerian Constitution. What exists is the office of Governor of Anambra State. It is high time election candidates begin consulting lawyers as it is done overseas for the filling of election forms.

“In filling the form, Prof. Soludo failed to know the law that Anambra State is the legal term for Constituency for a person contesting for office of governor of a state. He unknowingly filled in as if what he was asked was his Constituency of origin which is Aguata II Constituency. The legal implication of what he filled in the document (form) is that he has filed that he is contesting for Governor of Aguata II-Anambra which under the Constitution does not exist.

This is a substantial issue for determination by a court, certainly it is not a technical issue. “The document (election form) is a Certified True Copy (C.T.C) posted by a pro-Soludo supporter. It is an authentic form from INEC. The form for an election for office of governor of a state is the root of the title for the contest of the election for office of governor of a state.

The relevance attached to it by law is clear. See Supreme Court voided election of APC governor-elect’s mandate for Bayelsa State because of the wrong name of his Deputy Governor-elect now enjoyed by second runners up Governor Diri of the PDP.” He further said: “My submissions are not based on the above case for judgment on November 30, 2021 disqualification under Section 31 of the Electoral Act, but on any possible challenge of Soludo’s victory at the ElectionTribunalonthegrounds, not on qualification, but that APGA has no candidate through filling and submission of election form for election to the office of Governor of Anambra State.

That the Election form Prof. Soludo filled is for the office of Governor of Aguata II-Anambra which is unknown to the Nigerian Constitution. This is my angle of submission. Although the above case will throw more light on the imbroglio, to me it is a matter for an Election Tribunal not on qualification, but on APGA not having a candidate for the election.” However, efforts made to contact Prof Soludo or the executives of his political structure proved abortive as calls put through to them were not answered. But Chief Chinedu Nwoye, the convener ,Soludo Support Group (SSG) when contacted by our correspondent was emphatic that nothing would happen, as that would not be an issue. He stressed that the mandate given to Soludo is divine and cannot be truncated by frivolous claims by attention seekers.

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